No fall football weekend or drive down a country road is truly complete without a zip-top bag filled to the brim with hot, salty boiled peanuts. And the time to enjoy them in their prime is now, when fresh green peanuts are being harvested from Baldwin County fields.
Jimmie Fidler, head farmer at Fidler Farms in Silverhill, is certainly not the only peanut farmer in Baldwin County, but he does have the monopoly on one special legume — jumbo green peanuts. He was the first to plant them in Baldwin County 27 years ago, and his farm is still the only supplier of fresh green peanuts in the area to this day. His small parcel of jumbo green peanuts — just 100 acres — gives Fidler Farms the advantage in the boiled peanut game because jumbo green peanuts make the most supple and tender product.
Green peanuts (no, they aren’t green in color) are those that are freshly harvested and combined directly from the soil. They aren’t dried after harvest, so they retain 30 to 50 percent of their moisture content. By comparison, raw peanuts — those that are dug and then dried — only retain 10 percent of their moisture content and roasted peanuts — dried raw peanuts that are then cooked — retain less still. Therefore, when green peanuts are boiled, they require much less time than other varieties to soften and transform into the briny delicacy, making them the most sought-after crop to purchase pre-boiled or freshly harvested to throw into your own pot at home.
The trouble with green peanuts, however, is that you can only get them during harvest time (read: NOW). Peanuts are sown in the spring after the last frost, so they aren’t available to harvest until September and October. You can purchase raw or roasted peanuts year-round because they have a stable shelf life. Green peanuts, on the other hand, must be used almost immediately. Even when properly stored in the refrigerator, green peanuts may spoil within 10 days of harvest. So take advantage of the season and get your green peanuts into the pot as soon as possible!
Fidler Farms’ Boiled Peanuts
5 pounds green peanuts
10 ounces salt
1. Add peanuts and salt to a large pot. Cover peanuts with fresh water.
2. Boil for 2 hours, or longer if peanuts are more mature.
3. Drain and serve warm. Peanuts can be refrigerated or frozen and reheated in the microwave. Makes 10 pounds.
Tips for boiling success:
• Use 2 ounces of salt per pound of peanuts
• Add any other flavors you like — Cajun seasoning is always a winner!
• Put all of your seasonings in at the beginning, because green peanuts don’t require much cooking time
• If the cooked peanuts aren’t salty enough, soak for an hour off the heat for more flavor
• If the peanuts are too salty, add fresh water to the pot